Sabres' Justin Bailey credits Patrick Kaleta on recent success

Williamsville native and recent Sabres call-up Justin Bailey will play in his fourth NHL game when Buffalo travels to Ottawa in search of their third straight win on Tuesday night. After a fantastic debut in Philadelphia last week, Bailey admitted after Sunday’s 4-1 that he still faces a steep learning curve.

“My first game really felt similar to when I was in Rochester,” said Bailey. Even though the guys are much, much better here I had a lot of confidence going into my first game and I thought my play represented that. Since then it’s been a bit of a wake up call with the mistakes that I’m making. I’ve got to get to the video and try to limit those mistakes as I get some more games.”

Bailey’s humble approach has seemed to impress both his teammates and head coach Dan Bylsma. Since his call-up, Bailey has registered over ten minutes of ice-time per game. Forward Phil Varone was recently sent back down to Rochester, a move that demonstrates organizational belief in Bailey’s progress. Johan Larsson did return to practice on Monday and will likely play Tuesday but that will not likely effect Bailey’s status as Evander Kane will sit out Tuesday’s contest. Kane missed practice on Monday after spending the night prior in Toronto amid the NBA all-star festivities. Bylsma did not indicate that Kane would be formally suspended by the team but he did acknowledge that the winger would not play in Ottawa.

As Bailey matures and develops, he will continue to rely on Amerks teammate and forgotten member of the Buffalo Sabres organization Patrick Kaleta. A Buffalo area native himself (Angola), Kaleta’s days in a Sabres uniform are likely over, but many forget that he still contributes to the organization as a veteran in Rochester. Kaleta has one goal in 18 games played with the Amerks this season.


“He’s been very supportive of me since the day I got drafted,” Bailey said. “He’s played in this organization for the past nine or ten years and he knows so much. I’ve been able to go to him for just about anything. Whether it be things I need to do in the locker room or simple things like what I needed to pack on the flight to my first game in Philadelphia. He’s been really good for me and has helped me a ton along the way.”